For our first meal in Italy, we're crossing the piazza to eat at La Piola - the sister restaurant of Piazza Duomo.
You know you're in Italy when the bread arrives
it's been one of the things I've been looking forward to - finally getting to have decent bread and decent bread that doesn't require a second mortgage. Sorry brasserie, la madre, dench, convent and noisette some of you have a long way to go.
To celebrate our return, we enjoy a couple of glasses of 1999 Ceretto Brut and for starters, we've chosen two of our favourites from last year:
Carne Cruda - this is made from the local Fassona breed and it's topped with gorgeous salad of finely shaved carrot, celery, fennel and onion
Even the photo of this dish makes Paalo happy and he's made a huge call and decided this makes it to his last meal list.
It's a plate of Misti Antipasti - in the center, carne cruda and below it insalata russa (russian salad) - moving clockwise, vitello tonnato, pickled peperoni, tongue with salsa rossa, crostino con acciughe al bagnet verde (anchovies in green sauce) and cured pork.
Agnolotti del Plin al Burro e Salvia - they do offer a choice here and they recommend you have the salsa arrosto but I just wanted something a little lighter and this was perfect.
Paalo loved the Tarajin al Ragu di Salsiccia - the sauce is full of fresh tomato flavour, it hasn't been heavily reduced.
I can't go past Ciliegie al Monsordo - these cherries have been soaked in wine based syrup (most likely a wine from Ceretto's Monsordo vineyard)
Paalo orders semolino fritto con gelato al moscato
deep fried croquettes of semolina custard, perfectly crisp on the outside, soft on the inside. The flavour of the moscato really comes through in the gelato and the contrast of hot and cold is perfect.
To accompany desserts, a refreshing half bottle of Ceretto Moscato.
To finish off -
We're in Piemonte, the home of Lavazza, this seems the perfect coffee to end our meal.
A year on and the standard has been maintained but there has been one change - La Piola has expanded into the neighbouring building to create another dining area.
Piazza Risorgimento, 4
12051 Alba (CN)
+39 0173 442800
Lunch - 1200 to 1430
Dinner - 1900 to 2200
Sunday Night and Monday
Sunday and Monday (June, July, August)
Always open (September to December)
between December and mid-January
from 7th to 22nd August
Always check the website for current opening hours.